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If you ever wonder what happened to America’s good ol’ free enterprise, can-do, competitive spirit – look to the airlines.
They have become no-can-do, anti-competition behemoths, whining that to “improve competitiveness,” they must be given antitrust exemptions, allowing them to merge into even fewer and bigger corporations so they can… well, reduce competition! Yes, in their alternate (and perverse) universe, airline CEOs claim that to increase competition, they must have less of it.
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As a top honcho of American Airlines recently explained: “We have an industry that is too fragmented, with too many competitors, and with different ideas of capacity, pricing, and strategic activity,” Golly, “many competitors… with different ideas of capacity, pricing, and strategic activity” is precisely what Adam Smith hailed as the perfect model of free enterprise.
Meanwhile, here comes Glenn Tilton, top dog at United Airlines, who has long been a podium pounding evangelist for the gospel of merging airlines to restore consistent profits. Well, yeah, Glenn, glom every airline into one or two, and you can extort all sorts of profits from your customers. It’s called monopolization, and any goober can make profits from that rigged deal.
Of course, Glenn’s business model is the oil industry, where he helped merge Texaco into Chevron. That one hardly benefited consumers or our country. At United, Tilton has shown that his only business skill is abusing others – he’s knocked down his own employees, slashed service, and socked his customers with ridiculous fees. Now he wants to take over US Airways and bring his executive magic to that company.
Who needs theses self-serving slugs? Thank goodness they’re not trying to run a hot dog stand in New York City – the competition would kill them!
“United Chief On 3rd Verse Of Old Tune,” New York Times, April 9, 2010.
“More Airline Mergers Are Necessary, Chief of Industry Association Says,” www.nytimes.con, April 12, 2010.
“Airline M.&A. Is No Silver Bullet, American Chief Says,” www.nytimes.com, April 9, 2010.
“Airline merger would dwarf solo-flyer Continental,” www.reuters.com, April 9, 2010.